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Marcus Samuelsson's Barbecue Ribs with Tomato-Watermelon Salad
Barbecue Ribs with Tomato-Watermelon Salad and Grilled Corn
Marcus Samuelsson
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I love the bold flavor combination of the spicy ribs alongside the sweet, charred corn and juicy tomato-watermelon salad. The whole meal is just so summery and satisfying.

Technique tip: If you don't have a grill, place the glazed ribs under your oven broiler and cook until a crust has formed, about 6 minutes.

Swap option: If you can't find Persian cucumbers, use 1 whole English cucumber instead. You can use cayenne if you can't find berbere.


  • Ribs

    • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 2 large racks St. Louis-style spareribs or 4 racks baby back ribs
    • 2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
  • Tomato-Watermelon Salad

    • 1 small watermelon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 4 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup assorted fresh herb leaves (mint, basil, parsley, etc.)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Corn

    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons berbere
    • Kosher salt
    • 4 ears yellow corn, shucked


For the ribs:

1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and spices.

2. Liberally season the ribs with the dry rub (you want them to be fully covered by the spice mixture). Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

4. Transfer the dry-rubbed ribs to a wire rack-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush the barbecue sauce evenly over the ribs, reserving half for later. Pour 1 cup of water onto the baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil tightly and bake for 5 hours, or up to overnight.

5. Once the ribs are just beginning to fall off the bone, remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

6. While the ribs are cooling, preheat the grill and brush the ribs with the reserved sauce.

7. Carefully transfer to the grill and cook over medium-high heat until caramelized and slightly charred, about 10 minutes.

For the tomato-watermelon salad:

In a large serving bowl, toss together all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the corn:

Combine oil, vinegar, berbere and salt in a small bowl. Evenly brush the oil mixture onto the ears of corn.

Place the corn on the grill and cook for 10 minutes, rotating the corn frequently to ensure even cooking and coloring.

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Marcus Samuelsson makes barbecue ribs served 3 ways

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